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Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL)

Recognition of prior learning (RPL) may be defined in a number of ways, some more expansive than others. However, all definitions include the key notion that RPL involves the assessment of previously unrecognised skills and knowledge an individual has achieved outside the formal education and training system. RPL assesses this unrecognised learning against the requirements of a qualification, in respect to both entry requirements and outcomes to be achieved. By removing the need for duplication of learning, RPL encourages an individual to continue upgrading their skills and knowledge through structured education and training RPL allows students to shorten the amount of time they need to complete their qualification by removing the need to study previously learnt skills

In order to recognise prior learning it is necessary to: Compare the informal or non-formal learning the individual has achieved against the learning outcomes or performance criteria of the course qualification for which the student is using as a basis for seeking entry or the award of credit, and Determine appropriate evidence to support the claim of prior learning.

The processes used to assess RPL applications may take the following forms, which are not mutually exclusive:
  • Participation in modified versions of the assessment unit (i.e. recognition of current competency).
  • Assessment based on a portfolio of evidence.
  • Direct observation of demonstration of skill or competence.
  • Reflective papers, journals or portfolios that relate past learning to the learning or competency outcomes of the current course or qualification.
  • Provision of examples of the student’s work drawn from the workplace, social, community or other setting in which the student applies their learning, skill or competence.
  • Testimonials of learning, skill or competence, and combinations of any of the above.
    For evidence to be accepted it must fulfill the below rules of evidence:
  • The evidence must be valid. It must relate to the specific competency unit that has been identified.
  • The evidence must be authentic. It must be something the applicant has produced or something written about them.
  • Evidence must be sufficient and demonstrate complete competency against the information that underpins a competency statement.
  • The evidence must be reliable. It must show that the applicant can consistently perform a given competency to the required standard.
  • Evidence must be current. This is a particularly important aspect as the applicant must be able to demonstrate that their evidence is still relevant to the skills and knowledge they have.

Depending on the industry you have worked in, you may or may not have documentary evidence available. This should not deter you from seeking RPL, as the Assessor will work with you through the RPL process. You will also need to supply contact details of two work referees who can confirm your skills in the industry.

Step 2 – Interview with Assessor  
An assessor will review the information you have provided and begin to match up your skills to the units and elements in the qualification. At this point an interview will be arranged and you will have the opportunity to discuss and identify your previous experience with the assessor. Your assessor will have an industry-based conversation with you and you will be required to answer industry-based questions to demonstrate your current skills and knowledge.

Step 3 – Workplace site visit  
If appropriate and possible the assessor will conduct a practical skills test at your workplace or another suitable location. 

This is a further opportunity for you to demonstrate your level of competence This assessment will be focused on the skills that are required in the qualification for which you seek RPL. Your assessor will identify the skills that he/she will want you to demonstrate.

Who should apply for RPL? 
Anyone may apply for RPL but there are a few factors that you should take into consideration before you start the RPL process:
  • Do you have relevant industry experience that match the units for which you wish to gain competency? 
  • Do you have relevant life skills that match the units for which you wish to gain competency? 
  • Have you completed formal or informal training that is closely aligned with the units for which you wish to gain competency?

Please note that TBST does not offer Skills Victoria Government Funded RPL. All Skills Victoria Government Funded students who wish to receive RPL must pay the full fee paying fee.

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